Blog posts from two highly respected digital marketers this week regarding the future of SEO (search engine optimisation) left an impression on me.
As a blog and SEO writer, I was intrigued by Mark Shaefer’s thoughts about the “pretty wild and unexpected turns” that SEO is taking these days. And the subject line of Neil Patel’s newsletter “Is SEO Dead?” got me thinking “it can’t be!”
Aside from the growing influence of voice search, Shaefer writes eloquently about how content can be used to earn authority with your audience.
He’s not talking about simply churning out a steady stream of dry, keyword-driven content that may (or may not, depending on your budget), land you on the first page of Google’s search results.
Is building authority the future of SEO?
Shaefer says it’s about creating content that, to use his term, resonates with your audience.
To illustrate his point, he talks about himself landing a job because he was able to create an emotional connection that resonated with his prospect on a personal and professional level. Not because he featured on Google’s search results pages.
And that’s the special role that quality content can bring to your digital marketing strategy.
Moreover, with the exponential rise in the amount of content being produced competition will only ever be higher.
Building a “long-term connection that resonates” is key for Shaefer.
And the way this content is then distributed via your best-performing platforms is one way to win business outside of traditional search. Think email newsletters, social media or keynote presentations.
Is there too much content for SEO to be effective?
Patel also makes the “Content Shock” argument that Shaefer has become well known for. With over a billion blogs on the web, there is an excessive amount of content on just about any topic imaginable.
He uses a classic example of supply outstripping demand: the keyword “what is digital marketing” yields 11 300 global searches per month but 665 000 pieces of content trying to answer that question.
Yet despite this, companies are still seeing a return on their investment.
And, personally speaking, sound on-page technical SEO work will always have a role to play. This is despite Google’s algorithm changes and a decrease in click-through rates.
Whatever the future of SEO, Shaefer admits that there is still a place for SEO-driven content and there always will be. This is particularly true for smaller niche markets.
Patel, meanwhile, notes how Google has changed from being a commerce platform to more of a discovery platform. And adjusting content to Google’s new role may lead to increased ROI.
So, the future of SEO is not at all that bleak. It’s just that the playing field keeps changing.
But the point remains. Because of Google, you can now easily target your ideal customer, using SEO or paid search.
We quickly forget how business was. Before our lives became so intertwined with Google.
If you’re wondering whether to start using an SEO service provider, think about these words from Eric Prinsloo, the Head Honcho of Select Web: “If your prospects are not finding you online, they’re finding your competitors.”
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